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Home : Media : News
NEWS | May 21, 2024

NSWC Panama City Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Spotlight: Dr. Ray Lim

By Jeremy Roman, NSWC PCD Public Affairs

Dr. Raymond (Ray) Lim holds the position of physical acoustics senior scientist at NSWC Panama City Division (PCD) and has become a symbol of excellence within the mine countermeasures (MCM) field during his 36-year career.

He leads and works on projects that utilize acoustic technologies to detect and classify mines and unexploded ordnance. He has won five Coastal System Station (currently NSWC PCD) Independent Research Best Paper Awards, received the command’s Superior Achievement in Science and Technology Annual Award and is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. His success should come as no surprise.  

Lim’s academic pursuits began in Houston, Texas, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) in Chemistry and Chemical Physics from Rice University. He then proceeded to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After completing a postdoctoral appointment at Florida State University in Tallahassee, he joined the NSWC PCD research department in 1988.

“In this capacity, I have formulated models furthering our understanding of buried target acoustics that contribute to the development of sonar systems capable of detecting and classifying these targets for the Navy’s MCM mission,” said Lim. “Many of the fundamental insights gained have also been published in the open literature and these further the reputation of our lab, which helps to attract future researchers that will continue the work needed to maintain the Navy’s technological lead in critical mission areas. More recently, I have worked with NAVSEA mining programs to develop and improve algorithms to passively localize and track ocean vessels.”

Lim credits his upbringing for many of his achievements. His parents emigrated from China to Houston in the 1950’s, where they opened and ran a small grocery store until they retired.

“While working [then] was quite different from what I do now, the level of dedication needed to make that business a success meant 12+ hour workdays [and no holidays off] to maintain the trust of the neighborhood we served. While that work ethic…engrained in me helped me to rise to a senior position as well as develop a lasting technical reputation, [excellence at this level] would have been difficult to maintain if the work I do didn’t challenge me constantly,” said Lim. “I feel the best thing one can do to ensure job success is to choose a career path one finds interesting and challenging and make sure this requirement can be met when accepting a job. Though compromises are inevitable, NSWC PCD has mostly met this requirement for me since I came on board.”

This Navy Lab has provided Lim with the perfect arena to thrive.

“I like that NSWC PCD is right on the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. The work is challenging but, at the end of the day, it’s easy to unwind with friends fishing off the jetties at St Andrews State Park, while watching the sun set,” said Lim.